The reviews are in. That means it’s time for another iPhone review mix. This time it’s the iPhone 5. iSmashPhone review mixes are as follows: We read around the internet for some of the most well-known reviewers, then we gather them up to see how they felt about key points. It gives us a broader idea of what they thought of the handset, and it helps you by not having to do Google searches. All the original reviews are linked at the bottom of the page as well, so if you want to read any in their entirety, feel free to do so.
Pogue (NYT): The camera is among the best ever put into a phone. Its lowlight shots blow away the same efforts from an iPhone 4S. Its shot-to-shot times have been improved by 40 percent. And you can take stills even while recording video (1080p hi-def, of course).
Mossberg (AllThingsD): Apple shrunk the size of the rear camera, but kept the 8-megapixel resolution and added a cool, easy panorama feature and the ability to take still photos while making a video. Photos and videos I took looked great and were improved when in low light.
USA Today: I was generally impressed with the quality of photos and videos that I shot on the latest device.
TechCrunch: (MG mentioned Apple’s focus on low-light photography) The results are noticeably better, though still not quite as good as a good point-and-shoot (like the Canon S-series) or, of course, a DSLR. It seems clear that a lot of attention was simply paid to getting a camera that was as good as the one found in the iPhone 4S into the new, thin body of the iPhone 5. By far, the best new camera functionality is the Panorama mode, which is amazing.
Daring Fireball: The camera improvements over the 4S camera are subtle, but real. Images look sharper and colors are more vivid. Low light performance is significantly improved, not just in terms of exposure, but also for autofocus.
iSmashPhone Verdict: The camera seems to be about the same as that of the 4S. The major difference being it’s ability to better capture photos under low-light settings. Then there is the panorama mode, which was highly-praised by reviewers.
Pogue (NYT): The phone itself runs faster, too. Its new processor runs twice as fast, says Apple. Few people complained about the old phone’s speed, but this one certainly zips.
Mossberg (AllThingsD): .Perhaps the single biggest functional improvement in this iPhone — something you can’t get by upgrading the software on an older model — is speed. Apple has finally connected the iPhone to the fastest cellular data network, called LTE, and data downloads and uploads just fly, even when you aren’t on Wi-Fi. Also, the processor now has twice the previous speed.
USA Today: IPhone 5 also has a speedy new Apple-designed A6 chip that makes the device even more responsive than before, up to twice as fast as the A5 chip on the 4S, Apple says.
TechCrunch: I didn’t run any scientific benchmarks (I’m sure those will be coming in other reviews), but I did do a bunch of regular usage tests. The results were clear: the iPhone 5 is significantly faster than even the speedy iPhone 4S.
Daring Fireball: So, as of this week, we have computing performance in our pants pockets that nine years ago required a professional desktop workstation.
iSmashPhone Verdict: That A6 processor is fast.
Pogue (NYT): No direct mention.
Mossberg (AllThingsD): While LTE affects only data, voice calls I made on the iPhone 5 were clear, better than in the past. I had no dropped calls.
USA Today: I was delighted with the audio quality on voice calls, including the speakerphone. IPhone 5 has three microphones.
TechCrunch: The voice quality does appear to be better than ever. Apple added a few new noise-cancelling microphones to the iPhone 5 to help with call clarity.
Daring Fireball: No direct mention.
iSmashPhone Verdict: The reviewers seemed to like the call quality of the new handset, and it seems that the extra microphones helped with noise cancellation.
Pogue (NYT): The battery offers the same talk time as before (eight hours), but adds two more hours of Web browsing (eight hours), even on LTE networks. In practical terms, you encounter fewer days when the battery dies by dinnertime — a frequent occurrence with 4G phones.
Mossberg (AllThingsD): The iPhone 5’s battery lasted between 9 and 12 hours every day, in mixed use. For most people, the phone would last the day without recharging.
USA Today: Apple manages to produce the larger screen without penalizing the consumer with a bulky design or poor battery life.
TechCrunch: While it’s hard to judge against a year-old iPhone 4S, the battery seems to be a bit better than it was a year ago (though there were some iOS issues as well). Apple claims 8 hours of 3G and LTE usage, and that seems about right.
Daring Fireball: Battery life seems good, exactly on par with my 4S.
iSmashPhone Verdict: Reviewers were satisfied. In real-world use, it doesn’t seem that we will notice a difference between this and previous iPhones.
Pogue (NYT): Mentioned as a new feature, but no real talk about the quality.
Mossberg (AllThingsD): The biggest drawback I found is the new Maps app. Apple has replaced Google Maps with a new maps app of its own.
USA Today: The newly designed Maps app arrives preloaded as a key component inside iOS 6. Google had beaten Apple to the punch with audio turn-by-turn directions for Android. Apple has generally done a very good job with its own turn-by-turn feature, which I tested driving in San Francisco and the greater New York City area.
TechCrunch: Testing the maps these last few days, I’ve come away impressed. No, I don’t think they’re as good as Google Maps, but they’re not bad by any stretch of the imagination.
Daring Fireball: No direct mention.
iSmashPhone Verdict: The Maps app wasn’t received all that well. Most of the comments were along the lines of “it’s okay” but reviewers still seem to agree that it’s far from perfect.
Pogue (NYT): …new talents for Siri, the voice-activated assistant (she now answers questions about current movies, sports and restaurants); and one-tap canned responses to incoming calls (like “I’m driving — call you later”).
Mossberg (AllThingsD): Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled intelligent assistant, can still be unreliable (it’s still a beta) but I had success with some of its new features, such as looking up movies and sports scores. It now allows you to dictate and post Facebook status messages and book restaurant reservations via the separate OpenTable app.
USA Today: Apple’s chatty voice assistant has come a long way…Siri’s still not perfect, however…But Siri outperformed a similar feature on the Galaxy in my tests.
TechCrunch: A few changes include Siri, which can now do more (but still has quite a ways to go).
Daring Fireball: No direct Mention
iSmashPhone Verdict: Siri now does more. However, she’s still in beta.
Pogue (NYT): The screen now has better color reproduction.
Mossberg (AllThingsD): The screen continues to look great.
USA Today: I was able to display more than four extra paragraphs reading the same newspaper article on the Samsung as opposed to the iPhone 5. On the other hand, the iPhone screen appears sharper and brighter, and the phone is easier to carry.
TechCrunch: The other smart thing Apple did with regard to the 4-inch screen was only make it taller. That is, the screen on the iPhone 5 is the exact same width as every iPhone that came before it. It’s simply longer. This minimizes the ergonomic impact of the change (as well as the impact on developers).
Daring Fireball: has the best display I’ve seen at any size
iSmashPhone Verdict: The critics all agree that this is the best screen they’ve seen on any handset as far as the quality goes. However, some say that there are users who may prefer the wider screens of some of the Android offerings.
Pogue (NYT): If you have an iPhone 4S, getting an iPhone 5 would mean breaking your two-year carrier contract and paying a painful penalty; maybe not worth it for the 5’s collection of nips and tucks. But if you’ve had the discipline to sit out a couple of iPhone generations — wow, are you in for a treat.
Mossberg (AllThingsD): Apple has taken an already great product and made it better, overall. Consumers who prefer huge screens or certain marginal features have plenty of other choices, but the iPhone 5 is an excellent choice.
USA Today: People have always had lofty expectations for the iPhone 5, especially as the competition stiffens. In delivering a fast, attractive, LTE-capable and larger-screen handset, Apple has met those expectations with a gem.
TechCrunch: The iPhone 5 is the culmination of Apple doing what Apple does best. This is the smartphone nearly perfected.
Daring Fireball: The question everyone who hasn’t yet pre-ordered wants answered: Should you upgrade? My answer is simple. If you can afford it, yes.
iSmashPhone Verdict: As with most iPhone models. The verdict is upgrade if you are due. Otherwise, it may be something to hold off on, unless you really need that bigger screen and extra speed.
The iPhone 5 is…
The reviewers all seemed to like it, and agree that it’s Apple’s best handset yet. Sure, it’s just a few notches up from the iPhone 4S, but the larger screen and the ultra-fast A6 processor make it a worthy upgrade for those in the market for a new iPhone.
Read the full reviews below: